Before retiring from top-tier investment bank Goldman Sachs, Marty Chavez, the firm’s tech evangelist, predicted that it will be as important for traders to know how to code as “writing an English sentence.”
This month, banking giant Citigroup echoed Chavez’s proclamation as it announced the bank’s plan to aggressively hire about 2,500 technology professionals. These programmers won’t be in the IT division. In a sign of the rapid changes taking place on Wall Street, the coders, engineers and data analysts will work in the trading and investment banking departments.
The days of rough-and-tumble human traders are ending. About 75% of Citi’s trading activities were conducted electronically in 2019. Trading used to be solely conducted by professionals, but those days are almost completely over. Stuart Riley, Citi’s global head of operations and technology for the bank’s Institutional Clients Group, will house the programmers in locations around the world. Riley believes that “technology is augmenting what humans do by making better use of data.”
In addition to actual coders, Citi—as well as other banks—need smart numbers and science-related employees. Trading based on gut intuition has now been relegated to the past, as banks are seeking math-minded people to build models, algorithms and software instead.